A North Carolina man and his live-in girlfriend livestreamed for hours before and after they allegedly killed a teen the man met for a date after connecting online, a video released by a local TV station shows.
Joshua Newton, 25, and his live-in girlfriend, Victoria Smith, 23, face murder conspiracy charges and other crimes in the death of Kierstyn Williamson, whose body was found last month miles away from Newton’s home on a road in Monroe.
“It was fun,” Newton reportedly says as he’s seen dancing in the video posted on LiveMe and obtained by Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC-TV after they were flagged by a viewer.
The suspects’ livestream was posted the weekend of July 1, when Williamson was murdered, the news station reported. Williamson’s family had reported the teen missing to police in Laurens, South Carolina, after they hadn’t heard from the 18-year-old since June 30, officials said.
One section of the video shows the ceiling — still livestreaming — while a deputy investigating Williamson’s disappearance asks Newton his name. The news outlet reported that the Union County Sheriff’s Office verified that one of its deputies was heard in that video. A spokesman from the agency didn’t immediately return a call from Law&Crime seeking comment about the video.
Newton and Smith were arrested three days later on July 4.
Newton faces first-degree murder and obstruction of justice charges. Smith’s initial obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact charges were upgraded to murder, deputies said. They were being held at the Union County Jail without bail, online jail records show. They are expected to appear in court on Sept. 5. It’s unclear if they have attorneys.
Investigators said they planned to commit “this heinous act.”
“We do believe that there was a plan to unfortunately take the life of Williamson,” Union County Sheriff’s Lt. James Maye said in a news conference.
Williamson’s friend Promise Edwards told WSOC she was suspicious of her friend meeting Newton but said Williamson was looking for love and acceptance. She said the victim was transitioning to male and went by the name Jacob.
“They’re going to know that they messed with the wrong person,” Edwards told WSOC. “They picked the wrong victim.”
In addition to first-degree murder, they face charges of obstructing justice and felony conspiracy. Smith also faces a charge of being an accessory after the fact.
It is unclear if they have attorneys.
Williamson’s mother, Brittney Shealy, was devastated, according to CBS Spartanburg affiliate WSPA.
“She was my firstborn,” her mother told the station. “She’s the one who made me a mama. She should be here. She should be here at work. She should be living her best life, and she’s not.”
After meeting online, authorities said Newton allegedly picked Williamson up at the restaurant where the teen worked in Laurens and drove to his house in Monroe, where authorities believe Williamson was killed.
Details about how Williamson died were not available. Law&Crime has requested the autopsy report from the North Carolina medical examiner’s office.
Authorities allege Smith helped move the body, Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV reported, citing court records.
“We believe that the dating relationship led to some comfort between Newton and Miss Williamson, which ultimately led to her getting in the car with Josh that night,” Maye told WSPA. “There was just a perception that this was a dating relationship type thing. They were going on a date, and ultimately, it ended up in her death, sadly.”
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